The Lok Sabha has passed the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) Amendment Bill, 2021 without debate.The amendment bill aims to amend the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.
- The AERA Bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in March 2021, but was subsequently referred to a standing committee, which submitted its report on 22 July.
- The report noted that tariffs for smaller airports will be unreasonably high if determined on a standalone basis.
- An enabling provision for AERA to determine tariff for a group of airports is proposed by amending the definition of major airports.
- Under the present Act, a “major airport” has been defined to mean any airport which has annual passengers in excess of 35 lakh.
- However, the Act does not provide for determination of tariff for a group of airports. This would be possible after the amendment.
- The amendment will allow the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) to regulate tariff and other charges for aeronautical services.
- This can be done for airports with annual passenger traffic of more than 35 lakh and group of airports too.
- It would help encourage development of smaller airports.
- Once the Bill becomes a law, the government will be able to club profitable and non-profitable airports as a package for privatisation.
- The is done to make non-profitable ones more attractive for investment under the public-private partnership or PPP model.